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Activity: Big Garden Birdwatch feeder

This year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch didn’t start off too well for us in the Midlands (for garden birds or spotters!), with lots of rain. But you still need to be feeding the birds at this time of year, before spring arrives, and better food resources!

We were donated some bird food by the lovely people at Trellis Scotland, who support therapeutic horticulture projects with training and resources. We’ve used some of this seed to make a hanging feeder.

You will need:

bird seed


five pliable willow rods of about three feet long

a block of wood as a former

The seed mix - simply combine roughly equal amount of lard and seed. We softened our lard on the stove first, to make it a bit easier. How much you use depends on how many feeders you're making!

The willow hanger: Have a look at the photos, which will give you a step-by-step breakdown of the weave, which is like a corn dolly.

1. Drill four holes in a 10cm square in a piece of scrap wood. Drill an extra hole near to one of the others, alligned with the side.

2. Stick your five rods one in each hole.

3. Then bend them each in turn - take them forwards to the inside of the next rod, holding them firmly in place so that they don't pop out of their hole.

4. Follow this pattern round and round, it should decrease in size.

5. When you have created a pyramid shape that has tapered almost to a point, cut off all the rods except the last one you bent over. Cut this one shorter, and tuck it down the middle -this will keep all the others in place.

6. Then you have to carefully prise the whole thing out of the five holes. You can see from the photos that you'll have one very obviously loose stick! Tuck this one under the opposite side, and it will hold everything together.

7. Finally, tie some string onto the willow feeder, and fill with some of you fat mixture.

Hang it where your garden birds have some cover nearby, and make sure that predators can't get up near it!

Don't forget to send your Big Garden Birdwatch information in after you've done your counting!

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